what3words. Is this the end of GPS?

You’re stuck on a trail somewhere in Botswana. Maybe you’re out camping in the Nevada desert or enjoying a retreat across the Italian countryside.  Whatever the case, you need emergency assistance and you need it now.

But, uh… where are you? If you’re off the beaten path or in a location where you don’t speak  Swahili or Italian, how do you communicate that? Share your GPS coordinates! Sure. Direct your ambulance to -48.876667, -123.393333.

Ok. What if there was another way?

Let’s try this:

What are your 3words?

“I’m at ///amusements.grounds.stagnating. Please hurry.”

Why what3words?

What3words is “a really simple way to talk about location.” Hoping to revolutionize the world and the way we communicate location, What3Words has assigned 3 unique words to every 3-meter square in the world. Just like GPS coordinates, they’ll never change and provide extremely precise direction.

While the emergency situations provide the easiest example, what3words began in California, where map pins rarely point directly to the entrance and there are over 270 ‘First Streets.’

Have you ever entered an address, only to get directions to the complete wrong place, usually due to an extra space or a missing zip code? This is a problem even further extrapolated when you head to cities like Rome and Paris, where entrances to locations can be hard to locate and street names may be plentiful, duplicative or nonexistence.

OK, so what 3 words?

With what3words, there are precise named locations for every piece of land in existence – think zip codes, but the size of a car. You’ll always be able to find the entrance to GillespieHall at ///jump.drape.serves, and my desk in the office will always be at ///along.honest.preoccupied.

What3words is another example of how revolutionary technology oftentimes isn’t invented to solve a problem, but rather to offer a better solution to a long- “solved” problem. Snapchat didn’t put cameras in their glasses because you wanted a hands-free camera, they did it because you didn’t realize how annoying it was having to record everything from your hands.

The bane of the technology market today is complacency – it’s only a matter of time before we see other ancient second-nature solutions replaced with highly technological, better-than-ever solutions.

“A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” – Steve Jobs

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